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Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI)

Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI)

Percentage of people served by DBVI who achieve employment outcome (RSA 1.2)

75%2016

Story Behind the Curve

These data show the percentage of people who exit the DBVI Employment Program with a job for at least 90 days.

In FFY 2014 25 people exited the program without employment. The reasons are:

Reason Closed (status 28)Cases
Death6
Individual is incarcerated in a prison1
No Longer Interested In Services9
Transferred to another agency1
Unable to locate or contact8
Grand Total25

The research agenda will explores why some individuals are no longer interested in employment and why we are no longer able to contact others. We want to determine if these factors are in our control. The current DBVI practice is to encourage all individuals to pursue a path to employment even if that is not their top priority. Due to recent vision loss and associated health conditions some individuals are mainly interested in learning new adaptive skills to stay independent in their home.

Partners

DBVI considers the people we serve as partners. This year we conducted Town Meeting events in each of our 4 regions. The goal was to hear the “Voice of the Customer” about the results they expect from our program. A series of questions were designed to help us identify improvements and new strategies to help people obtain employment and improve their independence.

We also work closely with the State Rehabilitation Council, appointed by the Governor. The Council partners with us to evaluate data and to develop goals and strategies.

DBVI is encouraged that our partnership with the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired is helping customers to build the adaptive skills they need on the job and in the community. We are also encouraged that progressive employment strategies and our partnership with the Vermont Association for Business, Industry, and Rehabilitation is helping DBVI to partner effectively with businesses to provide opportunities for blind or visually impaired workers to demonstrate their abilities in the workplace.

The DBVI partnership with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps is helping students and young adults build the skills they need in the workplace. VYCC helps DBVI run a summer youth employment program that provides the opportunity for students to learn employment skills and Independent Living Skills. These early employment experiences help build the confidence needed to succeed in college, in vocational training, and in the workplace.

The DBVI partnership with the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired is essential. VABVI has a staff to certified blindness staff available to deliver services to individuals who need to learn adaptive skills related to their blindness.

What Works

The path to economic independence and a good job begins when individuals work with DBVI to learn new adaptive skills related to their vision loss. These new skills make it possible to accomplish daily tasks in a new way. Many individuals also need to learn new technology. For example, there are screen enlargement and screen reader programs that make it possible for blind individuals to navigate the computer with proficiency. There are also specialized low vision devices that provide specialized magnification for individuals to use for job duties at their place of employment.

Building vocational skills is also very important to compete for the jobs. DBVI provides financial and technology support and encourages individuals to pursue post-secondary education and vocational training. Many individuals also are placed with employers for a work experience. These short-term experiences help individuals decide if they like a certain type of work and also helps them build skills for their resume. These experiences can lead to paid employment when future opportunities are available at the company.

Action Plan

DBVI will continue a proactive approach that all who want to work can work. We will offer products to help people either keep, or get ready to become employed.

The DBVI staff will discuss the possibility of a policy change to give staff and consumers more time to determine if their main goal is Employment or Independent Living related.

DBVI will:

-Continue progressive employment strategies.

-Create Consumer Driven Events to prepare for employment.

-Improve communications with customers regarding expectations which includes a statewide orientation to DBVI’s Employment Program.

- Investigate whether to make policy changes to reflect additional assessments to determine whether an individual’s goals are employment or independent living related.

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